Opposition watch

Kensington’s affordable housing disgrace

This bijou no bedroom pad, yours for £300,000

By Amir Akhrif’s Campaign Diary

Do you live in a household that earns an average of £150,000 a year? Do you want to buy an average house in Kensington? Sorry mate, you’re too poor…

The wonderful, hardworking people at Shelter have released their latest Housing League Table, and yup, you’ve guessed it, Kensington has ranked as one of the worst for affordable housing in London. No surprise there, but some of the figures are eye watering!

You would have to earn £158,400 per year in order to afford to buy an average-priced house in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea area.

There are 6,687 households on the waiting list for affordable housing in Kensington – at current letting rates this will take 11.20 years to clear.

Independent experts say your area needs to build 3,663 homes per year. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea planned for 85 new affordable homes to be provided in your area last year.

Thank you Shelter for exposing the Council’s complete and utter failure in providing affordable housing.

North Kensington to get new secondary school

At long last, young people in North Kensington are to get a new Secondary School. The site earmarked for the non-denominational Academy with its own sports facilities is by Kensington Leisure Centre sports pitches. The Labour government’s Building School’s for the Future programme has guaranteed funding of £30 million…

Local resident and local Labour candidate Beinazir Lasharie says “for years many of our local young people have had to go to schools outside the Borough. They will go to school in North Kensington thanks to many years of lobbying by Labour Councillors and local parents”.

Yet our Liberal Democrat opponents try to claim responsibility for the new school in their newsletters. We have a track record of achievement and don’t need to take credit for others hard work. We would like to ask for them to exactly just ‘how’ they achieved what they have claimed?

Championing an environmental Low Emissions Zone

We can improve our air quality by supporting Low Emissions Zones

Let’s face it, there are serious air quality issues in London, and North Kensington doesn’t get off that lightly. Our main roads like Ladbroke Grove, and especially the Westway flyover, have excessive recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide coming from vehicles…

That’s why your local Labour Councillors are championing the idea of a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) that keeps the most polluting vehicles out of central London, protecting local people – especially children – from dangerous airborne particles. The proposal focuses on health, rather than congestion, with no charge for ordinary cars driving in and out of the area around Portobello Road, like there is for the Congestion Charge Western Extension Zone.

But wouldn’t you know it. As soon as Labour Councillors started asking the Council to support a LEZ, the idea appeared in the Liberal Democrats newsletter. The fact that Labour Councillors have been the only councillors in our Borough to vote in favour of this practical idea is however not mentioned by our opponents.

It’s a shame that the local Liberal Democrats can’t come up with their own campaigns. I just hope they would stop nicking all of you local Labour Councillor’s ideas!

Written by Amir Akhrif. For more information, you can read his blog at http://amirakhrif.wordpress.com

Save Wornington Green: Exclusive interview with an original architect of the estate

Councillor Emma Dent Coad with Peter Deakins

Everyday’s a good day to campaign on something you believe in. Even more so when it’s an issue as important as saving 1,700 residents homes in Wornington Green, at the top end of Portobello Road…

The Conservative-run borough’s planning committee decided last Tuesday to allow the 538 social rented houses on the estate to be knocked down over 12 years, to include 300 privately owned homes.

This is just another example of just how out-of-touch Borough planning is, when it comes to the community of North Kensington. Labour has backed local residents, who believe that knocking down the estate and displacing 1,700 people, to make way for an additionl 300 private homes fetching £300,000 for a 1 bedroom and £1.2 million for a town house, effectively ruins our community for a decade.

At the committee hearing, all of the Labour Councillors opposed the redevelopment and sided with the majority of residents. It is worth noting that every single Councillor that voted in favour of redevelopment were Conservatives. Even though North Kensington remains largely Labour, with no Conservative Councillors.

In response, Labour Councillor Emma Dent Coad, invited the architect of one of the 1960s blocks, Peter Deakins, to come down to Portobello this morning and speak about his views on the redevelopment plans.

Colville Ward candidate Amir Akhrif, was there to film the interview.

If you’d be so kind, do us a little favour next time you look at your street, whether you live on an estate or not. Ask yourself one simple question… “do you feel secure that the Council will protect your home against property developers?”….

After the Council’s decision last Tuesday, we don’t feel secure anymore. That’s why we need Councillors who can sit on these committees and make decisions that listen to local peoples views. That is what Labour intends to do. That is why we are standing for election in May. That is why we are asking for your vote.

“Power back to the people, not to the property developers”…

Written by Amir Akhrif. For more information, you can read his blog at http://amirakhrif.wordpress.com